Immediate telephone for specialist advice - WESPGHAN

This page provides a best practice example for standard 9 of Facing the Future: Standards for acute general paediatric services, which explains the Wessex Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Network, which provides immediate specialist telephone advice across the Wessex region. Access to specialist paediatric advice is crucial to enable general paediatricians to appropriately and effectively manage the care of children with specialist needs.

Standard 9: Specialist paediatricians are available for immediate telephone advice for acute problems for all specialties, and for all paediatricians. 


  • The Wessex Paediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology & Nutrition Network (WESPGHAN) was established in 2005.
  • It contains a membership of 13 hospitals across Wessex. Each unit has a nominated consultant lead.
  • Southampton Paediatric Gastroenterology (GI) team provides immediate telephone advice for acute problems - available 24 hours per-day, 365 days a year. 
  • Acutely unwell children can be transferred seven days a week to Southampton Hospital.
  • The GI team provides visiting regional clinics every two to six months.
  • Members of WESPGHAN meet on an annual basis to discuss the needs of children and families within the region. Any arising issues are dealt with collaboratively. 
  • Members of WESPGHAN communicate regularly through their online website and forum. They can access written support and advice on condition-specific pathways, research, reports, events and educational resources. 

"The 24/7 provision of immediate telephone advice has helped reduce delays in care, meaning clinical issues are addressed quickly and patient experience is improved. Also, general paediatricians feel supported and reassured in their decision-making."

Dr Nadeem Ahmad Afzal

Contact for further information

University Hospital Southampton NHS Foundation Trust

Dr Nadeem Ahmad Afzal, Consultant in Paediatric Gastroenterology -